May 31, 2019, Ottawa, ON – Canada is failing its youth when it comes to tobacco control, according to a 2019 Report, released by the Tobacco Endgame Cabinet. The Cabinet, comprising representatives of health charities, researchers, physicians and other experts, who are dedicated to reducing tobacco use, published the report that shows the inadequacy of current measures in ending tobacco use.
Released in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, the report calls for governments of all levels across the country to take action to reach the tobacco endgame goal of lowering the prevalence of tobacco use to “less than 5% by 2035.” Current smoking rate in Canada is 16% (2017).
“We need all levels of government to light a fire under the policies and tobacco measures and really lead an effective change. Less than 5% by ’35 is not just a goal, a number or a tagline. It represents number of Canadians who can lead healthier, longer lives,” says Terry Dean, president and CEO, The Canadian Lung Association.
Current tobacco control measures are inadequate and will not lead to this reduction in tobacco use. The report outlines progress in respect to specific policies and measures on provincial as well as federal levels, and calls for immediate strategic, coordinated action to address the gaps.
The policies addressed in the report include investment in tobacco control, tobacco taxation, vaping regulations as well as cessation services, among others. While the report does highlight some key successes, such as the finalization of plain and standardized tobacco packaging regulations, the conclusion is that Canada is failing to implement necessary measures to meet the goal.
Specifically, the report provides an overview and recommendations in the following areas:
- Tobacco taxation – higher tobacco taxes to reduce use. The revenue from tobacco taxes should in part be re-invested into tobacco control programs.
- Investment in tobacco control – more investment and prioritization of tobacco control at all levels of government.
- Tobacco cessation efforts – a comprehensive and effective cessation strategy to help all Canadians.
- Tobacco retail reform – making tobacco products less readily available through stronger retail reform.
- Tobacco control measures – stronger product regulation measures to complement those currently in place.
- Smoke-free housing, campuses and hospital grounds – smoke-free places are critical to eliminate the effects of second-hand smoke and to discourage smoking.
- E-cigarettes – stronger measures to curb dramatically increasing rates of youth vaping.
Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, killing 45,000 Canadians annually. The need to act is urgent and it will require strong strategies and coordinated action and accountability measures from all levels of government.
The complete report is available at http://www.lung.ca/tobacco-endgame.
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